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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Comments also posted on TripAdvisor. This was the second transatlantic cruise for us. This time from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. Last year we crossed the Atlantic on the Costa Favolosa from Savona to Guadaloupe. Both crossings were, for ... Read More
Comments also posted on TripAdvisor. This was the second transatlantic cruise for us. This time from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. Last year we crossed the Atlantic on the Costa Favolosa from Savona to Guadaloupe. Both crossings were, for us, very good and fulfilled almost all our expectations. Embarked in Venice on a cold, rainy day. Took a water taxi from our hotel directly to the ship. Boarding took a bit over an hour, but when 2000 passenger need to get on board, quite normal. You proceed directly to your cabin where the Costa Card - your identity card for the trip and the Diario (newspaper outlining the activities) are waiting. The luggage arrived soon. Three cupboards, two hanging, one with shelves and under the desk five drawers are sufficient. We never used the mini-bar. The dining room is at the stern of the ship. The ship is 295 m (about 900 ft.) long . This meant each visit there at least half a kilometre walk! Great way to do some sport! We had a table for six in the "English" section of the dining room. Occasionally we enjoyed the company of a Scottish couple. They however seem to have preferred the buffet on the ninth deck. So, except two evenings when we were joined by families from Guadeloupe, we enjoyed a private table. Our waiter, Mat from the Philippines, was great. Friendly, curteous, helpful. Could not wish for a better one! Louis from Honduras assisted him. Always happy, always laughing and quick with serving. The menus are available in several languages. The English copy was excellent and the food we selected was usually to our tastes. Once or twice, the meat was not our taste, but this is minor. The other diner was on the 9th deck, the buffet. Breakfast and lunch were served there and people, often with youngsters or teens ate there. Here I want to comment on statements made often in previous comments that the food was terrible. First of all these commentators forgot that they were on an Italian ship serving Italian food for its majority of passengers, Italians. Yes, there were no toasters, just a few stone hard pre-toasted slices. There was no porridge, no waffles, etc. However consider, when you travelled in Italy, in mass tourism hotels, did you find waffles or porridge? Italian breakfast means usually an espresso with a couple of sweet buns and maybe a bit of fruit. And that is it! You go to Italy not to eat your home foods, go you to experience Italian food. Something worse than commenting on the food, were the overloaded plates in the buffet area. We have seen daily, for breakfast and lunch, passengers who selected so much food that they could not eat it all. For example, to just mention one of hundreds cases, a passenger took 6 slices of white bread, added six croissants, butter, cheeses, sausages and a few sweet rolls onto her plate. Started to eat. Soon left the plate and departed. The leftovers? Four slices of bread, five croissants, and most of the trimmings. And this in an age where there a millions starving. Costa tries to stem this waste. This year (not last year in the Costa Favolosa) the breakfast and lunch tables all had five three-sided displays with the heading “Taste do not Waste” and text in various languages urging the passengers to show restraint. In our opinion, the texts were to “nice” to carry fruit and should really be of the smoking category, showing examples of overloaded plates. Interestingly Costa removed those displays during the second part of the voyage. Once a woman passenger came to our breakfast table with such an overloaded plate. My wife asked politely if she would eat all that. She got up and left. In many previous comments, complaints were uttered regarding the waiters and often in general about the crew. Let me state that we almost never had an unfriendly or not helpful waiter or other crewmembers. They all responded gladly when you asked them politely for something or other. Most were happy to speak with you. Consider, they are working on a seven to nine months contract. Mostly work eleven hours a day with no day off. In general, the old saying “Just as one calls into the forest, so it echoes back.” applies Only a couple of staff members did not fit the above-mentioned attitude. In the dining room, neither the first nor the second maître d’hôtel ever came to our table to welcome us or inquire if we are satisfied. Never. In 31 days! And our table was not in a dark corner. What a difference to the maître d’hôtel on the Favolosa last year. There a smiling and friendly maître d’hôtel came by almost every evening to inquire, to tell of specials. Simply “normal” of what his job demands. Many complaints in the blogs are about the speed of service. There again you have to consider that the Costa ships are Italian ships. Moreover, Italians take their time to eat! One evening the service was quite slow, however on the Lido deck a huge buffet was served, with a meter high shank and square meter sized cakes. That took many cooks and they were missing for the normal dinner service. A prior mention in the daily Diario would have been appropriate. A previous comment on this same voyage stated that the dining room doors were not opened at the scheduled time. Let me state that for a specific reason I was at the door openings all except two nights, and the doors were always opened within a minute or two from the stated times of 6:15 or 6:30. One last item re food and this item is truly a shameful item for Costa. As a Perla member (travelled enough with Costa), you are invited for one evening to eat in the Samsara restaurant without a normally applying surcharge. When you make the reservation, you are shown an exclusive menu. When you sit down you are shown a small narrow menu with only two choices of main dishes. Definitively a cheat in my opinion and we hope Costa will soon remove this falsification. Sanitation: Norovirus on a ship is definitively bad. There have been cases and we were happy that we did not have an outbreak on the ship. To fight this there are many disinfectant dispensers at the entrances to the dining rooms and all around the buffets plus at many other places on the ship. Much to our annoyance, hardly anyone made use of these. Quite a difference to the German cruise ship we once travelled. There two men stood at the entrance to the dining room and made sure that everyone disinfected their hands. Well… that’s a bit if Germany vs. Italy. The other health problem was coughing. Typically, the infamous air conditioning coughs. Ice cold dining rooms against warm outside. I did catch it this time and brutally with high fever. A few visit to the ship’s hospital ensued. Great praise for the two doctors and the nurses. I was treated perfectly. The downside of those passengers, as necessary as those visits are, are the costs if you do not have a proper travel insurance, which also covers shipboard hospital visits. There is more that could be mentioned, maybe another time. To end my comments: During the crossing of the Atlantic Costa arranged (naturally a small charge applied – Costa has to be profitable) to tour the insides of the ship. Many places we saw. Not the engine room. We also had a visit to the bridge which was immensely interesting. Chatting with Captain Varese I asked if anyone on the bridge still uses the sextant, the clock and the admirality tables to fix the ships position. He said yes, the cadets still have to do this procedure same as I used before GPS became standard. I also told him that I always hope to once see a submarine surfacing alongside or at least see the snorkel. He, who has sailed a lifelong said “never saw one”. Summary: We again enjoyed the trip and, yes, we will again choose Costa. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
osta Magica 8th September to 21th. Amsterdam, Dover, Le Havre, La Coruna, Leixoes, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malaga, Civitavecchia, Savona, Marseille. Getting on in Dover & off in Savona made this trip a lot easier for us, so many ... Read More
osta Magica 8th September to 21th. Amsterdam, Dover, Le Havre, La Coruna, Leixoes, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malaga, Civitavecchia, Savona, Marseille. Getting on in Dover & off in Savona made this trip a lot easier for us, so many thanks to the lovely Amanda in Genoa for making this possible, she has proved more than once to be a true credit to Costa, she & her colleagues are always polite and helpful, sorting out our many needs.   Our fifth time on the Magica completing our 200 days with Costa, usual lovely cabin on deck ten, spotlessly clean and an extremely helpful room steward who soon had us settled in even help us to un-pack. Through cruise critic we had spoken to others on this trip before going, this proved to be a nice way to meet up, Adelaide & Frank from the US, Lilly & the Vagabond from Italy and our table companion's Tine & Bob gave us so much enjoyment we could not thank them enough for making this cruise special. We have become use to the crew of this ship who always go that extra step in ensuring we have everything we need, certainly better than the bigger Costa ships which seem to have lost some of the personal touches we have come to expect from our many Costa cruises. The larger ships like the Diadema do not have the same friendliness as on mid-sized ones, probably down to the huge numbers of passengers on board.  We tried, with some success two tours on this cruise, the first in Le Harve to a small fishing port on our own, mostly on the level so my walking was manageable made a nice change to be able to get off, although had to get assistance boarding coming back as tide had come in and gangway far too steep for me. Next to Oporto lovely river trip, sightseeing by coach, visit to Cathedral, major problem going back to coach up a really steep slope, however tour guide had coach brought down to us and assisted us on, really understanding driver and indeed guide, Costa should consider maybe mini-busses for the few English who often have tours cancelled, after all we have managed to use taxis in some ports.   Dining was in the Perla Diamante/Suite restaurant above main dining room aft, far too crowded now, with new club rules adding many more guests to an overcrowded room during the evening meals, with table allocation by number & two sittings, not as nice as our previous enjoyable meals there. Food was again disappointing, one day excellent even outstanding, next inedible and menus difficult to understand, no good translating to English but then using mostly Italian terms. Surely the number of plates being returned with food left raises some concerns, one evening ordered a special (lobster) which was so overcooked and tough I asked Maître D to return it to kitchen, no problem but no feedback or explanation as to why, just offer to choose something else, which was a veal medallion & really lovely.  Perhaps I should send them copies of the wonderful menus of the early 2000's  English Host Stephanie was an absolute joy, as our special member of staff she booked all our onboard requirements made us feel welcomed and visited us many times during our cruise, checking that all was okay. As we don't venture ashore much now it is so nice to chat with members of the crew who always had time to stop and enquire about our day, bar tenders, waiters, even maintenance workers on deck spoke, which to me makes a great cruise. The Magica is laid out like most ships of Costa so very easy to find way around all areas were clean, slight down side to the piano bar, no coffee now, but lovely waiter from classical bar next door brought me Cappuccinos on the hour each night with a smile. All in all still a great way to spend a couple of weeks in the sun on one of my favourite ships. Now looking forward to the Diadema at Christmas first time back on Costa for the festive season for over 10 years. Not quite the best ever Costa cruise but very close. 9/10 Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We are from the UK and after previous cruises on Princess Royal Carribean NCL Carnival we were worried about the sailing we had booked on the Costa Facinosa from previous reviews we had read we got a great deal for £399 each in an ... Read More
We are from the UK and after previous cruises on Princess Royal Carribean NCL Carnival we were worried about the sailing we had booked on the Costa Facinosa from previous reviews we had read we got a great deal for £399 each in an inside cabin for the South America Transatlantic cruise back to Europe . We had no need to worry at all the ship was one of the best we have sailed on she is pure elegance and the inside cabin was the largest we had stayed in and the bathroom was huge with a large shower .Plenty of storage space in both and the bed was so comfortable. The ship was spotless and the elegant quality of the furnishings and lighting truly amazed us. The crossing was so smooth and we had hot sunny weather most of the way. After reading previous reviews that no one spoke English this was a complete load of rubbish. All staff spoke English the daily update was printed in English and the Captain gave updates in English too. After reading reviews there was nothing to do during the day again a load of rubbish there was something to do from 10:00 to 18:00 every day. We joined in pool games quiz afternoons dance lessons art and craft lesson all with English speaking staff and there were many more activities to choose from. The food and quality was some of the best we had eaten on any ship the quality of the Italian hams cheeses bread pizza meats soups salads etc etc were of a really good standard. Every evening we had a different five course evening meal in the restaurant on Deck 3 and during Gala Nights the meal was also excellent.Lots of people did wear elegant outfits for the Gala Nights. We enjoyed the shows on an evening so much variety acrobats dancers opera singers magician illusionist and many more . We would highly recommend the ship and really enjoyed the South America Transatlantic crossing we had so much value for money and would not hesitate to book another cruise with Costa . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
After reading many negative reviews was a bit hesitant to book and wasn't expecting anything exceptional, well We were surprised we travelled as a group of eight and found the cruise to be very enjoyable. have cruised with ... Read More
After reading many negative reviews was a bit hesitant to book and wasn't expecting anything exceptional, well We were surprised we travelled as a group of eight and found the cruise to be very enjoyable. have cruised with four other lines and found costa to be the most memorable. boarding was quick as was disembarkation . the entertainment and activities were well planned, Décor at first was overwhelming to many patterns on the walls couldn't tell a door from a wall but we got used to it. after the third day. we were in minority as only minimal English speaking passengers on board but staff were courteous and tried very hard to communicate with us. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6 our room was always clean even though we never saw our cabin steward. we only took a few organized tours and did other ports of call independently. The ship offered shuttle buses to town at ports where transport was needed, in our opinion it was not expensive and worth the cost as it was convenient due to being easy not having any hassles trying to find your own way as you are only in port a minimal amount of time. Time is whats valuable. only negative we had was the drinks package while it was good value if you are a heavy drinker everyone in the cabin was expected to buy it. was not catered for individuals. we were three in a cabin and two drank little alcohol so there would of been no value for everyone to buy the package . also the food was ok but the same thing every day with no variety at the buffet . restaurant food was just ok nothing flash .but same food just a different name each night with a different dressing . if you wanted anything special on the menu you had to pay extra for it . all in all the cruise had a European vibe and that's why we took it . it was a fun ship to be on . We would cruise costa again ports visited Savona, Marseilles, Palama Majorca, Cadiz, Malaga, Lisbon, La Coruna, Le Havre, Dover , Amsterdam. only regret we had was we opted to take a shore tour in Lisbon . advertised 5 hrs 4WD to see all the country sites around Portugal. It was useless spent most of the time sitting in traffic and driving through bush stop for a quick photo stop at a lookout then only had 30 minutes at the final destination which was beautiful needed at least two hours there better to have spent the day in Lisbon town independently. Traffic Not Costas fault but this tour was overrated not worth the money spent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
After reading all the negative reviews we were very apprehensive about stepping aboard Costa Luminosa for our 28 day trans Atlantic cruise. All I can say is you don't believe all that you read. The first issue was language as ... Read More
After reading all the negative reviews we were very apprehensive about stepping aboard Costa Luminosa for our 28 day trans Atlantic cruise. All I can say is you don't believe all that you read. The first issue was language as Australians & English as our only language ,we had no difficulty in communicating with the staff and crew ,all shows included English and shore excursion are offered in English . Next was food. We found the food in the Taurus restaurant excellent and staff went out of their way to cater for my dietary requirement , they even had a gluten free only section. Smoking is now restricted to very few areas of the ship. Another plus was that we were seated with other English speaking passengers who had the same itinerary as we did. The staff on board are so professional , friendly and helpful. Finally I want to say that was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable cruises we have been on and were sad when it was time to disembark. We have no hesitation in sailing with Costa again Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
The first two things that really strike you about Victoria is the amount of space in her public areas inside & out, and (more importantly to some) the almost complete lack of revenue driven areas on board. These two aspects are hand in ... Read More
The first two things that really strike you about Victoria is the amount of space in her public areas inside & out, and (more importantly to some) the almost complete lack of revenue driven areas on board. These two aspects are hand in hand in many ways, for example, Orpheus Grand Bar on deck 6 has a huge amount of unused floorspace, this is the same on deck 7 in the casino where large swathes of floorspace has been intentionally left furnishings & thus revenue free. The space in her public rooms is quite unique for a purpose-built cruise ship of her size, one of the big complaints against some cruise ships is the way that tables & chairs seem on top of each other & crowded, this is far from the case on Victoria.Design wise, Victoria is a very elegant ship...as close to an ocean liner as you can probably get in a cruise ship. She has curves everywhere, her external & internal architecture has been beautifully designed and, as with all German built ships, her build quality, attention to detail and overall atmosphere is second to none, she really is quite exceptional in most areas.Technologically speaking she is actually very advanced, especially in her propulsion systems. Her four main powerplants drive two screws, she has two large rudders and 5 thrusters...2 aft & 3 forward. The thrusters are how she manages to parallel park so efficiently. She can berth in about 15 minutes from arriving to roping up, equally getting away is just as quick, a case of drop the ropes and let the thrusters do the work....no hanging about for tug assistance at all. Despite a minor blip off Brazil when she lost all power for about 20 minutes, she has had no major problems...and that is with one engine out of action. Incidently, the engine with the fault will be put right before she leaves for Asia next year, so she should be firing on all cylinders without any difficulties.Boat drill...as per all Costa cruises, you will get a boat drill every 7-8 days and unlike most modern ships, Victoria has her muster stations outside on the boat deck (deck 6) and they have 6 muster stations - A, B, C, D, E & F - three down each side. The drill takes around 15-20 minutes depending on languages required, so be prepared to stand a long while in possibly hot/humid temperatures (especially in Asia).Concorde Plaza is almost cathedral like in its design & build, stretching from deck 7-11 and with two incredible mezzanine floors that are both user friendly and elegant, again the attention to detail is just superb. Another of the main rooms is the theater on decks 6 &7, superbly designed, very thoughtfully built to enable 90% of theater goers to see without obstruction, there are screens on each side of the stage for those in the upper level on deck 7 so that no-one misses anything on stage.Music lovers will really enjoy Victoria...Orpheus (deck 6), Planetarium (deck 5), Capriccio (deck 7), Concorde Plaza (deck7 thru 10) & Tavernetta (deck 12) all have live music in the evenings, Orpheus & Planetarium starting early evening. There are bars in each lounge too, with long drinking hours, so the drinkers will be happy.Dancers are also very well catered for, Victoria has a variety of dancefloors, all with live music in the evenings...ranging from ballroom to disco. A disco is also available on deck 6. Daily dance lessons are available to those wishing to learn from expert dance teachers.Kids & teens....the usual teen & Squok programmes are available and were well organised on my cruise. The children on board seemed to enjoy their experiences, which appears to be standard on Costa, so kids are definitely well looked after aboard Victoria.Sun worshippers will enjoy Victoria. There are no shortages of loungers anywhere on the ship, the sun deck area stretched to the equivalent of around 3 football fields, and as in the inside areas, there are large swathes of space to stretch out in without having to clamber over others to get to a lounger. The upper decks (11, 12 & 14) all have loungers, deck 11 has two bars, an outdoor buffet counter and two very large pools, 4 whirlpools, a stage for live music and plenty of areas to just watch the world float by.One unusual aspect to Victoria is her indoor pool on deck 6. It is alongside the gym & spa and is very popular...the pool itself is larger than most ship's outside pool, so if a few lengths is what you want to do when the weather is not good, then you will be pleased.Eating....often a bone of contention with some people, but in Victoria's case, there is no problem. The service is very good, food quality is very high, I personally did not have any bad meals or slow nights service wise. The pizza is to die for...absolutely wonderful at lunchtime. There were apparent issues with the Sinfonia restaurant at breakfast & lunch which seemed to have been sorted after a couple of days. I had evening meal in Fantasia. Both Sinfonia & Fantasia are on deck 5...Sinfonia is aft whereas Fantasia is midships.Drinking water at evening meal......just ask the waitstaff and they will happily provide jugs of iced water for your table, along with lemon slices too if you so wish. Never a problem for me or countless others in the dining room and always waiting there on my table for when I arrived in the evening.Posh frock nights & cocktails parties....on this cruise we had 4 Gala nights & a total of 3 cocktail parties over the 3 weeks. The buffet & pizza restaurants were either closed or partially closed most nights as most passengers preferred to eat in the main dining rooms, so it would have been pointless to open up both sides of the buffet. Obviously this changes according to itinerary/passenger mix & demand.Powerpoints in the cabin.....standard two voltage shaver point in the bathroom and a two voltage powerpoint in the cabin area (at least in my cabin). Lighting consists of two bedside lamps, 2 spotlights over the desk with independent switches & overhead spotlights, again with independent switches.Theater....the entertainment is very professional and varied, the crew show was standing room only as usual and extremely enjoyable. Overall the shows on Victoria were of an excellent standard - most of the performers were aboard Allegra last year, so it was great to see & hear them again, The animator crew are hysterical, they play pranks on the passengers and crew daily and can always raise a laugh, even when the weather is miserable...whether it be dressing as babies and throwing tantrums in the casino or chasing each other like cops & robbers, these guys & gals put their all into having fun with everyone....brilliant to see and watch.Smoking...another bone of contention...again, I think it really depends on the nationalities & region/itinerary - some are more attached to their ciggies than others and in many respects this showed a little during the cruise. The usual smoky areas to avoid...casino & to some extent Capriccio next door. However, on the whole the smoking was not too much of a problem for the majority of passengers...there are ways and means to avoid the worst areas.Cabins....as with any purpose built cruise ship, the cabins are a tad compact & bijou but since they are just for sleeping, dressing & washing in, they work perfectly fine. My cabin was 80456 a grade I1 inside that was a standalone...with a crew access behind one wall, a linen cupboard behind another wall and the aft elevators behind another wall. Noise transmission was pretty much none existant, the elevators are quiet and foot traffic across the marble landings/stairs is negligible. The bathrooms have a large wooden sliding entry door (be gebtle with these doors as they can be tempermental) and the shower has a curtain to play with. Water pressure is excellent, as is the hot water...very hot and compared to other ships (inc QM2) your tightie whities will stay white, not go an attractive shade of orange. Access to the cabins is via a perforated door key, identical to Costa Allegra. There is a push button safe in the cupboard. Other storage in the cabin comprises of a double wardrobe with a chest of drawers to one side, two bedside chests of drawers, a small desk or table (depending on grade), a fridge and a cupboard with shelving. The TV is a CRT type, therefore not interactive...BUT...there are totems around the ship where you can book shorex, check your ship account, book the speciality restaurant etc, so you do not need to go to the tour desk on deck 6 or the reception deck on deck 5 for everything, it can be done remotely using the totems.There are also several totems for registering credit cards around the ship too.Hosts & hostesses...this is unique to Costa, they always have hosts & hostesses who can speak a variety of languages and they are the point of contact for passengers if they have a problem or just want to ask a question. This time around the English hostess was Rachel and the German hostess was Elke...there were also hosts/hostesses for the Portugese, Spanish & French. They had specific hours where they were available on deck 5 and passengers could just drop by for a chat or whatever. Other lines should take this on as it really does break down barriers tween crew and passenger. All the hosts/hostesses were excellent on this cruise, very hard working, polite & efficient,Secret spaces.....yes, she does have a few areas that you can often have to yourself. Apart from the stern rail on deck 6 (boat deck), decks 7 thru 10 have full width stern balconies that are reached via doors in the cabin corridors. Deck 8 stern balcony also has the Italian flag flying from it when in port. These balconies are brilliant for sailaways...and yes, you CAN smoke on them if you so wish (quite often you'll find crew on them having a quick ciggie]. Many people do not realise that passengers have access to these balconies, but you can and they offer unobstructed views from the stern along with limited wind/weather cover at each end.Ship's photographers...again an area of some consternation on other lines. Yes you will see them and they will see you, but a polite 'no thank you' will suffice and they will leave you alone. They will not continually hassle you to take photo's...if you want to have a photo taken whilst eating, having fun at the pool or whatever, then they are happy to oblige and the standard of the photo's is actually very good, with some unusual and unique montages that make lovely souvenirs for those wanting to purchase them. Costs range from $9.99 to $14.99 each depending on size/event.Potential drawbacks.....with the benefit of hindsight & the fact that nothing is ever perfect, Victoria does have a couple of areas that need to be taken into consideration when booking a cruise on her, especially with your choice of cabin.With the theater behind the aft stair tower from deck 6 thru 7, anyone wanting a siesta in the afternoon or are early/light sleepers might want to book a cabin forward of the aft stair tower due to the inevitable noise issues. Inside aft cabins on deck 8, 9 & 10 aft do pick up noise, this cannot be avoided, obviously deck 8 is probably the worst with 9 & 10 offering some improvement. Outside cabins on these decks aft of the stair tower also experience some noise too but to a lesser extent since the insides are right over the stage area.Concorde Plaza at the very front of the ship could potentially cause noise issues for the outside cabins on decks 6A, 7, 8, 9 & 10 (there are no insides forward of the forward stair tower).Another potentially difficult thing to consider in regard to Concorde Plaza is that with the loss of the inside cabins to accommodate the huge expanse of lounge area, Victoria can be a very bow light ship, so even the slightest of swell could be a problem for those with even slight motion sickness...she does move a lot she has quite a pronounced shimmy and she actually bounces too, especially when fully fuelled/ballasted. In all honesty I actually felt that her center of gravity was too high and that had been messed up by the balconies being added, combined with the weightless bow and engines/fuel tanks aft. The amount of movement IS excessive for a ship of this size and could put some off booking her, but I do suggest that you give her a try, making sure that if you are prone to motion sickness that you take appropriate precautions. You can obtain anti-nausea pills from reception or the pharmacy free of charge if you think you might require them. My inside cabin on deck 8 was right next to the aft stair tower & elevators and I felt every single roll, pitch & shimmy.So the old addage of a cabin midships & low comes into play...if there were low cabins, midships.....Victoria is essentially an upside down ship...her main public areas are deck 5, 6 & 7, there are cabins on deck 4, 5 & 6A but mainly midships to forward. The bulk of her cabins are decks 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 (the suites are on the upper decks). The retrofitted balconies are mainly decks 9 & 10. The midships cabins are probably the best if you want to avoid the noise of the theater aft or the excesses of movement forward due to the lack of weight in that section of the ship.Seeing the sea.....I have to admit that I found Capriccio & Orpheus a little disappointing when it came to seeing the sea...Capriccio - well you can't and in Orpheus its glimpses via 3 vertically stacked large portholes, so I feel the design (which is otherwise superb) has let the ship down a little in these two areas. Tavernetta on deck 12 has huge picture windows, so seeing the sea is excellent, albeit too high to take in the wildlife very easily. Concorde Plaza has the huge wall of windows overlooking the bow....however, although the visibility forward is good (albeit slightly obstructed by the huge steel trusses), I personally feel that I have been spoilt by Costa Allegra and her Flamenco Ballroom at her stern where she has huge picture windows that look over the wake. Had I designed Victoria I think I would have swapped the theater over with Concorde Plaza and made more of the view by having Concorde at the stern with big windows on three sides...that, IMHO, would have been spectacular. On decks 6 & 7 you can sit on some very comfy wicker chairs or on round sofa's around the atrium, these either look down onto the Planetarium bar on deck 5 or out to sea on 6 & 7. Another 'problem' about both Capriccio & Orpheus is that both lounges are used as corridors to other parts of the ship, so there is always a constant flow of foot traffic and that can spoil an otherwise very pleasant atmosphere.The marble used on the stairs & landings might prove to be a problem for those with sight deficiencies. All passenger stairs & landings are in cream marble and it is not always easy to see where the stair riser is against the landing. Grooves have been cut into the riser surface but they are still cream, thus no clear demarcation, so greater care is required when using the stairs if your eyesight is not great. This could (and did) cause a few stumbles, so be aware of it and don't rush up or down the stairs too often.None of these potential drawbacks are meant to put people off Victoria, she is a stunning ship and ahead of her time in many areas, they are my own observations of how certain areas of the ship could have been made much better than they already are, and to act as guidance for those looking to book a cruise on her and wondering where to go for the quietest or most stable cabins. Costa is by no means responsible for the bad sea handling, crew that I spoke to are equally critical of her sea manners, they too feel that it is her achilles heel in many respects.Visually Victoria is stunning inside and out, her curves and attention to detail is exceptional, her crew are her heart and soul and they are a pure joy to be around, I cannot praise them enough during the 3 weeks I spent aboard her. She is extremely easy to get around...even for those with mobility issues...the flow of her rooms is perfect, access is via either one of 12 elevators (4 of which are glass in the atrium that go from deck 5 thru 12) or via 2 stair towers.So in summary.....is she a good fit for Asia...yes, definitely. She will be very well received out there and will give Legend o/t Seas & SuperStar Virgo a real run for their money. By introducing Victoria to Asia, Costa should be able to capitalise on their already popular itineraries with a very capable ship. However, one part of the itinerary might have to be curtailed, the cruise up the river into Saigon might have to go, this is an uncertainty at time of writing this report, but I fear that her draught & her height could cause a problem with the depth of the river and the new suspension bridge outside Saigon. Time will tell on this.Victoria delivers a great product, her crew are superb, her eating & drinking venues are excellent & her entertainment is varied and very professional. Yes she has her potential drawbacks but they are not really deal breakers, but should be taken into consideration by those they are most likely to affect. By booking a cruise aboard Victoria you are assured of a really friendly & happy ship and some marvelous itineraries. Wherever she is in 2013, I will definitely try to get another cruise on her (2012 is Costa Classica's turn for 37 days) in the knowledge that she is a very different vessel to those I have sailed in the past.One thing that is quite strange, and I know it is never wise to compare ships too much, but when chatting to other passengers, its become clear that many rate Allegra & Marina higher than Victoria. The two main reasons are cabin size & the way that Victoria reacts with weather/sea state. When you consider that both Allegra & Marina are less than half the size/weight of Victoria and the consensus is that they handle the sea better than Victoria, it is quite a surprise to hear that opinion. However, both Allegra & Marina were originally containerships, so their hulls were V shaped and thus built to take any & all weather conditions, Victoria is a purpose built cruise ship with a flat bottom and a shallow draft. As I have already said though, Victoria is slightly hobbled by her weight & balance issues and her high center of gravity.I have a huge amount of gratitude towards Captain Massimo Pennisi & his crew, especially Rachel, Elke (and the other hosts), Alvin, Marianna, Pian & all the crew in Fantasia, Lucas in Orpheus, Brian in Planetarium, Heri my wonderful cabin steward, Alex & the reception staff....and well everyone on board who made my cruise very special & one that I will remember for a very long time to come. A very big thank you to you all & I hope to see you again someday aboard either Costa Victoria or one of the other Costa ships.I would have no hesitation is recommending the Costa Victoria for the Med or for Asia, my only reservations are as I have already pointed out in regard to cabin position & basic 'sea manners' of the ship itself, you will always find some cabins are better than others, just as some ships handle the sea better than others. Do your homework, keep your expectations realistic and you will have a wonderful cruise aboard Costa Victoria. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2008
Having enjoyed a cruise on the Costa Med in 2007 that left from Venice, Italy and hit ports in Italy, Greece and Croatia, my friend Jim and I decided to try a longer transatlantic Costa Med cruise in 2008 that started in Savona, Italy and ... Read More
Having enjoyed a cruise on the Costa Med in 2007 that left from Venice, Italy and hit ports in Italy, Greece and Croatia, my friend Jim and I decided to try a longer transatlantic Costa Med cruise in 2008 that started in Savona, Italy and ended in Santos, Brazil. While some things could be improved, we had another great time overall. We flew from New York into Genoa, Italy on November 26 where we stayed at a Costa-arranged hotel called the Bristol Palace. Our large, spacious room and its modern bath were very pleasant as were the bar and reception area. We had an excellent dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Genoa, Zeffirino, that was located a couple of blocks down the street. Then we then were picked up on November 27 by a Costa-arranged van for our hour-plus transfer to the port in Savona. Unlike some other drivers we've had, the van's driver was polite and did a great job getting us to the port on time. He earned a tip from us. Unlike last year in Venice, embarkation at Savona could have been a bit smoother. The departure hall was very tightly-packed and our United States passports caused quite a stir for the Costa staff. They were quite anxious to confirm that we held valid Brazilian visas. We had arranged them at some expense through an expediter that Costa suggested called Zierer Visa Service so that wasn't a problem and we were finally allowed to board the ship. While other reviewers have also noted it, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that the design and style found on board the Costa Med are stunning. While most of the ship has Italian roots, parts of it are modeled after Asian (Roero Wine Bar) and Egyptian (Osiris Theater) influences. Even on my second cruise, I kept noticing new details, like winged cherubs on the ceiling on one bar, every day on board. The Atrium is particularly stunning with its colorful floating sculpture and glassed-in elevators. One of the exciting features about the Costa Med is that it attracts mainly European passengers while most of its staff still speaks decent English. Life on board feels different than it would on a different line in the same family like Carnival where most of the passengers speak English. Along with Jim and I, there was only one other United States citizen on board out of about 1800 passengers. Since this cruise was for 17 nights but was affordably-priced like most repositioning cruises, we decided to book a Panorama Suite. It was well worth it for the top-notch bathroom and spacious veranda. The bathroom had two granite sinks and a real Jacuzzi bathtub with shower. Last year's bathroom, like most I've used on board other ships, featured only a narrow, coffin-like shower. The veranda had four chairs and seemed to take up about half of the aft of the Costa Med. Our Cabin Steward, Florence, did an amazing job keeping the Suite clean throughout the cruise. Our Butler, Desmond, had to cover 11 other suites on the Costa Med so he didn't do much except deliver a fruit plate to our room each day. The Suite did benefit from a few other nice small touches like enhanced bath amenities, terry cloth robes, advance copies of the main restaurant menus and one free meal in the pay restaurant. You should definitely book a Suite if bathrooms or verandas matter to you. Another exciting feature about the Costa Med is that it offers an excellent wine list at affordable prices in its main restaurant, pay restaurant, and in its wine bar. There were thirty to forty full bottles available, mainly from Italy but also from other leading wine countries like France or Spain, for about 20-25 Euros per bottle. One of our wine waiters in the pay restaurant and wine bar, Tatiana, was extremely attentive and knowledgeable. If you love wine like we do, then this is a great line to try out. The main restaurant was very good. While we never were awake in time for Breakfast there, we did have most of our Lunches and Dinners there. Each Dinner featured at least three Appetizers, three Soups, two Pastas, four or five Main Courses, one or two Salads, a Cheese platter, and then four or five Desserts to choose from. While the food wasn't quite as good as on our previous Uniworld, Windstar or Oceania cruises, it was still very good. On both of our Costa cruises, I was impressed that the Maitre D' made an effort to seat us with other passengers who spoke English and were roughly our age. We had three charming young ladies at our table this year. Two from Germany spoke enough English to be a lot of fun. And our Waiter, Benjie, who's a 7-year Costa veteran, did an amazing job handling his 24 passengers. The pay restaurant, Club Medusa, was very good too. We ate two Dinners there. It wasn't expensive or crowded. Some of the food items on a Michelin-starred Chef-selected menu were outstanding like the tomato bacon onion soup; others were just odd like one fatty beef shank main course I didn't enjoy. The buffet restaurant upstairs was at best good. Some of the food on the steam trays wasn't hot or fresh. The hot dogs, pizza, salads and desserts were fine. It was very difficult to get beverage waiters to take our order. So we mainly ate at the main restaurant downstairs. One area that could be improved a lot is the main stage. At least half of the shows we saw were mediocre at best. The eight-person on-board dance troupe did a good job as did a couple of singers but it was almost cruel for the Cruise Director to force some of the bar entertainers, like a talented piano soloist, Demetrio de Bellis, to take their turn on the main stage. The best show we saw was from a local Brazilian dance company, Interarte of Salvador, that was on board for one night only. Yet another exciting feature about the Costa Med is that it offers four to six bars with live music each night. The same entertainers who struggled on the main stage excelled in these smaller venues with room for 50 to 100 passengers. Most notable were Tango Trio, featuring a violinist, pianist and accordionist who were amazing and featured each night in the Roero Bar, and a couple of solo performers, Flavio and Dino, who did terrific jobs on their keyboards and on Dino's guitar in the Dionisio Bar. The solo performers both earned tips from us. And Flavio rewarded us by giving us his most recent CD. The Laundry on board did a great job with laundering my jeans and dress shirts and dry cleaning my blazers and dress pants. The Certificate of Crossing the Equator, signed by the Captain, that appeared in our cabin after we crossed it, was a very nice touch as was tooting the ship's horn when we crossed. I wish someone had warned us, though, about how easy it is to get sunburned when you're near the Equator. Jim and I suffered a lot from only an hour and a half out on our veranda that day. The Internet Cafe on board lost its satellite connection about halfway through the cruise so we lost our ability to access the Web for email or other sites. We were able to occasionally get email through our cell phones when we were close enough to shore. The new Costa Club card that I carried, for frequent Costa travelers, was supposed to lead to a 20% discount on service in the Internet Cafe, Laundry or Mini-Bar that never materialized on my final statement. Nor has Costa answered an email I sent over ten days ago on that point. We also had some difficulty getting an Excursion that Costa cancelled in Barcelona credited on my statement. It took visits to three different desks to get it done. And prior to the cruise, Costa needed prodding by CruiseCritic.com to admit that its unilateral switch from Dollars to Euros for our Excursion costs, months after we booked them in Dollars in advance on the Costa web site, left a bit to be desired. Costa needs to do better at customer service at its Reception and Excursion Desks. Since many of the ports on this repositioning cruise aren't regularly visited by Costa or other cruises, I'll only make a few comments on them. Along with several Excursions, we used the paid Costa Shuttle Bus service several times to get from the port to local sites of interest. I was quite impressed by Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. It may have been hundreds of miles away but it fondly reminded me of all the other cities I've seen in Spain. We had an excellent steak lunch there at Casa Carmelo on the waterfront. I thought the part of Fortaleza, Brazil where the Shuttle Bus dropped us was squalid with men sleeping on the streets and many empty buildings. Yet the shopping mall in Recife, Brazil where the Shuttle Bus dropped us was very affluent. We had an excellent buffet lunch at the Skillus chain restaurant. One of the young ladies from the kitchen adopted us since she spoke the best English there. And she earned a tip from us. We had an amazing lunch outdoors at Jardim Das Delicias in Salvador, Brazil featuring seafood stew served in a large bubbling pot. And the Excursion we took that night in Salvador to see a local dance troupe with gymnastic flair was excellent. The Jeep Excursion we took to Corcovado and the Rainforest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was outstanding but a bit long. Unless you love beaches, I wouldn't recommend visiting Brazil with Costa or otherwise for another five or so years so that it can build up its tourism infrastructure a bit more. After killing a couple of hours on board waiting, our disembarkation on December 14 in Santos, Brazil went smoothly. We were able to claim our luggage, clear Customs, and get on our Excursion bus that toured Sao Paulo, Brazil and then took us to its Airport for our flight back to New York. We had a great experience with arranging our two separate flights here using the www.vayama.com website that specializes in international travel. While we wondered in advance if a 17-day cruise would be too long and if we'd be eager to get home, that wasn't the case here. We really enjoyed sleeping late, eating at the main restaurant, and enjoying the wine and live entertainment in Costa Med's bars a lot. We'd definitely travel on the Costa Med or a different Costa ship in the future. Read Less
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